Business is ‘fantastic’: Hertfordshire couple relaunch village pub

Local celebrity Barry Norman does the honours at the refit watched by licensee Andy Rawnsley and Nic

Local celebrity Barry Norman does the honours at the refit watched by licensee Andy Rawnsley and Nick Collingridge, who has bought the pub with wife Diana - Credit: Archant

A couple’s decision to buy a pub is already paying off with business ‘fantastic’ since its relaunch.

Nick and Diana Collingridge bought the freehold of The Plough in Datchworth from pub retailer Greene King at the end of July.

The pub in Datchworth Green was closed for two weeks while the couple – who live in the village – gave the interior a makeover, before reopening on August 9.

The launch event was attended by film critic Barry Norman, who also lives in Datchworth.

An average of 31 pubs are closing each week across the UK, but Nick believes the venture can be a success.

He said: “Datchworth is a very friendly village and I couldn’t bear the thought of the pub being closed because it didn’t fit the brewery mould. It is very clear that the brewery model doesn’t work for small pubs – the breweries are just focused on the bottom line.

“It is great that we have been able to secure this pub which had been somewhat unloved in recent times, and I know from many conversations with locals that its rebirth is warmly welcomed. Business has been fantastic since reopening.”

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The pub will be managed by the same team that runs Our Mutual Friend in Stevenage, which is listed in The Good Beer Guide.

Andy Rawnsley is the licensee of both pubs and also acts as treasurer of the North Hertfordshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale.

He said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to run The Plough and will work hard to deliver a welcoming pub that is a focal point for the village.”

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